The event was held on April 10.
The Latin American community in Lambeth was given ‘official recognition’ by the council last week during a special fiesta in the town hall.
Although there are many as 10,000 people from South and Central America currently living in Lambeth and Southwark, many living in the boroughs are unaware of this ‘invisible community’.
Speaking before the event, organiser Lucila Granada said that recognition by councils and MPs is important as it ensures that specific needs of Latin Americans can be dealt with by those who understand their problems.
“Latin Americans are in a difficult situation,” she said. “Health, for example, is a huge problem. One in five are not reigistered on the NHS. Lots of people are forced to work for bad contracts. 60% of our community work in the cleaning sector, so lots of people are working for bad wages.”
Miss Granada, who is originally from Argentina, came to the UK to study for her Dphil. She is now Advocacy and Campaigns Co-ordinator at the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS).
LAWRS is one of eleven organisations which make up the Coalition for Latin Americans in the UK(CLAUK), which was set up only two years ago to promote the welfare and dignity of South Americans living in Britain. Although people from South America have been coming to Britain since the 1960s, often as political refugees from oppressive regimes, their numbers have increased in recent years.
“Many Latin Americans come to the UK from Spain or Portugal, because it is harder to come directly from South America,” explained Miss Granada. Whilst many immigrate to Britain for employment, there still remain more disturbing reasons for people to leave their communities in South America.
“It is not that difficult for people to come here saying that they are looking for jobs, when the real reason may be asylum,” she said.
The event, which was held on Thursday evening, began with a bilingual duo addressing the audience in both English and Spanish, and included an official welcome being given to the Latin American community by councillors.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Taylor
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